Aston Villa vs West Brom – Premier League preview and team news

West Bromwich Albion make the short trip to local rivals in Aston Villa in new Head Coach Pepe Mel’s first taste of a Midlands derby.

After enduring a disappointing run of results and criticism from supporters, Paul Lambert was given every reason to be delighted with his side as they held Liverpool at Anfield, in a performance that arguably deserved all three points. Christian Benteke scored the second successive game, giving another indication that he might be on his way back towards his imperious form of last season.

Mel oversaw a decent, if unspectacular start as Baggies boss as they drew 1-1 with Everton at the Hawthorns last time out. They certainly warranted their point after an improved second half display, but the result was overshadowed somewhat by the furore surrounding Nicolas Anelka’s ‘quenelle’ gesture. In terms of this game, defeat will leave West Brom perilously close to the drop zone.

Gabriel Agbonlahor misses out after being forced off at Liverpool due to injury. Nathan Baker is available following concussion.

Anelka is able to play in the intervening period before his disciplinary hearing, while Gareth McAuley and Goran Popov are able to play after recovering from injuries.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Aston Villa v West Brom

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